Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 14: The Jaunting Car / 1
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Click on the picture to see a larger version.
The Irish Jaunting Car. Detroit, Michigan: Detroit Publishing Co., circa 1890-circa 1900.

This and similar postcard illustrations were often accompanied by a verse from "The Irish Jaunting Car" by Valentine Vousden, an Irish music hall performer who was born in 1825:

If you want a ride round Dublin shure
     you'll find me on the stand,
I'll take you to Raheny to pick cockles on
     the Strand,
I'll take you to the Phoenix Park, to Nancy
     Hands and then
I'll take you to the strawberry beds and
     back to town again.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Digital ID: (digital file from original) ppmsc 09947. Click here to view source.

Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 14

The Jaunting Car / 1

The cabs on Dublin's "hazards" were all horse cabs. Automobiles were still a rarity in 1904 Dublin:

a bed in those days was as rare as a motorcar is now. [9 801 / 9795]

Nor is it surprising that horse cabs make so many appearances in Ulysses, since they occupied a prominent place in the street life of Dublin and other cities around the turn of the century.

Before the advent of the automobile, private transportation -- apart from bicycles -- was the preserve of the wealthy. Most other people were severely limited in their means of getting from place to place.

Bloom, for example, trying to determine the fastest way to a destination, has the choice of travelling:

by a triple change of tram or by hailing a car or on foot through Smithfield, Constitution hill and Broadstone terminus. [10 1189 / 12170]

"Hailing a car" sounds strange in the context of a horse-drawn world. We are accustomed to think of "car" as a modern word, synonymous with automobile but in fact it has been in use for at least 400 years as a term for various types of horse-drawn carriages.

By the end of the 19th century, however, "car" usually meant one of three things: a streetcar, railway car or, in Ireland, a strange little two-wheeled vehicle known as the jaunting car.

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